Travel Eats: Madison, WI

This year my husband and I have been taking a few weekend trips and while on our travels, we've enjoyed exploring the food scenes of the places we visit. One city we enjoyed recently was Madison, Wisconsin. The capital of Wisconsin is a couple hours drive away and makes for a perfect weekend getaway. I didn't realize how much great food was available here! We visited in mid-March and although a bit cold, we loved the vibe and all the city had to offer that time of year. I already have plans to come back to Madison in mid-July so I can experience the famous and huge Dane County Farmers Market that happens around the square. So you can bet I'll be sharing that experience in a few months! But for our trip in March, we had a great time at the following places. If you haven't been to Madison in awhile or have yet to go, I definitely recommend it and encourage you to stop at the following places while you're there...

23 N Pinckney St
Madison, WI 53703

The Old Fashioned is a must stop place while in Madison. We stopped here for lunch and we just had to order some cheese curds (it is Wisconsin afterall!). The cheese curds here at The Old Fashioned were light, crispy and addictive! Be sure to dip them in 'Tiger Sauce' for an extra burst of flavor. I ordered their Wisconsin’s Best Wurst platter – a selection of local favorites; Bavaria Sausage Kitchen’s N├╝rnberger bratwurst, Knackwurst and Weisswurst with grilled bread, sauerkraut, sweet gherkins and mustards. My husband ordered the Wisconsin Burger – Grilled over a live fire and topped with Cheddar cheese, olive oil mayonnaise & raw onion on a buttered and toasted bun.

12 S Carroll St
Madison, WI 53703

After lunch, we stopped into Fromagination - a specialty cheese shop with a great selection of so many cheeses along with accompaniments. We definitely felt like kids in a candy store because we just didn't know where to start. Both my husband and I love blue cheese and we asked if we could learn more about the various blue cheeses they had available. The staff was wonderful - they gave us our own private blue cheese primer. We learned about the differences of each in terms of aging, texture, types of milk used, etc and it was great to learn so much. They were very knowledgeable and walked us through each kind of blue cheese, complete with samples. Having side by side tastings made it easy for us to determine which blue cheese we liked the best as they are not made all the same. Needless to say, we left here with a ton of great cheeses, a sourdough baguette, honey, and crackers. I highly recommend a stop here to not only get your cheese fix,but learn more about cheese in general. The staff is extremely helpful and are open to helping you find a cheese you love!

116 S Hamilton St
Madison, WI 53703
Wisconsin is known for their Supper Club restaurants. These restaurants started off as "Prohibition Roadhouses" where gangsters would visit. After the Prohibition, these roadhouses were given liquor licenses if they served food... and as a result, these "Supper Clubs" were born. There are a number of them throughout Wisconsin and these days, some restaurants have adopted the vibe of a Supper Club, like the Tornado Steakhouse. We had dinner here and it was an amazing experience. Once we arrived, we were escorted to their downstairs area known as the Corral Room. It's romantic and much quieter than the main floor. One thing we didn't anticipate is how big the portions were. My advice is to order one dish and share.... which will be plenty! Had we known how much food we were given, we would have done that to begin with. Our meal started off with a mini loaf of homemade bread, giant breadstick and a veggie crudite served in a tall glass with ice. Saturdays, the restaurant has a prime rib special so we opted to have that. The special comes with a wedge salad, which was plenty for 2! With just the bread, veggies and salad, I admit I was pretty full lol. Then our prime rib arrived with a side of their hashbrowns (something they are known for) and Yorkshire pudding. Everything was delicious! There was no room for dessert but perhaps next time - after splitting a main entree lol.

117 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Madison, WI 53703

To start off our lazy Sunday, we decided to take a walk in the morning and head over to brunch near our hotel. DLux was a place we were intrigued by because it was named as having the one of the best burgers in the city. Their brunch scene was also great where they offer a variety of dishes. We started off with their Fresh Donut Balls served with a strawberry cream cheese glaze. The portions were very generous and we ended up with leftovers to take home. For our brunch, I had their Eggs Benedict with a side of Parmesan Cheese & Truffle Cream Potatoes. The potatoes were amazing... then again, I love truffle anything lol. My husband got the Spicy Sausage Breakfast Sandwich with a side of Cheddar & Green Onion Potatoes. This is definitely a great spot for brunch and I can't wait to come back another time to check out their burgers!

1305 Regent St
Madison, WI 53715

With some time to kill before heading home, we heard of these famous apple fritters that are ridiculously big and are especially good. After some digging around, we hopped in our car and drove to check it out. Greenbush Bakery is where you'll find the apple fritter of your dreams! They have a variety of other baked goods but it's the apple fritter you really need. We picked one up to nibble on our long drive home and it was heavenly. It's best to get there early in the morning to snag one made fresh. We were very lucky to come in when we did because they were just about to run out (with only 3 left to spare after we ordered ours). Once they are gone, they're gone for the day. You can pick up their apple fritter at local grocery stores or even at The Old Fashioned restaurant (mentioned above)... but the best is really from the bakery itself.

811 Williamson St
Madison, WI 53703

Finally, our last stop before heading home was The Underground Butcher. This is a specialty shop dedicated to gourmet meats and a few cheeses. It's not a very big place but they have a great selection of items to prepare a charcuterie platter, some top quality meats for a special meal, and even some wines and cheese platter accompaniments. However, my main drawn here is their prepared sandwich known as "The French Exit." The sandwich is very simple - a few slices of gruyere cheese, a few slices of salumi, a spread of in house garlic mayo all served on a crisp yet chewy sourdough baguette. We picked up a couple of these sandwiches to enjoy for dinner after getting home. They held up well and was the perfect ending to our delicious weekend getaway in Madison!